Diocese of Chichester Education

Religious Education

A high-quality religious education (RE) curriculum is essential to meet the statutory requirement for all maintained schools to teach a broad and balanced curriculum. Church schools and academies should be centres of excellent practice for the teaching of RE. As such, RE should have a high profile within school and should be regarded as a core subject by school leadership. Attainment and progress should be high. At the heart of RE in church schools is the teaching of Christianity, rooted in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Pupils should develop a deep understanding of Christianity and other major religions and worldviews as they progress through school.

The legal requirements for all schools are that:

  1. RE must be provided for all registered pupils in full time education except those withdrawn at their parents’ request (or their own request if aged 18 or over). (DfE Circular 1 / 94, paragraphs 44 & 49, and Non-Statutory Guidance 2010 page 28)
  2. The law relating to RE for pupils who are not yet in key stage 1 is different from that relating to subjects of the National Curriculum. As RE must be taught to ‘all registered pupils at the school’, it includes pupils in reception classes, but not those in nursery classes or play groups
  3. By the same law, RE must be provided for all students in school sixth forms (but not those in Sixth Form Colleges, which must provide RE for all students wishing to receive it)

Special Schools must comply with this requirement by ensuring that every pupil receives RE as far as is practicable. Academies are required, through their funding agreements, to teach RE. For academies without a religious character, this will be the locally agreed syllabus. For academies with a Religious Character, RE will be in line with the requirements of the founding body. For specific information, academies should refer to their Funding Agreement.

In Foundation and Voluntary Controlled (VC) schools with a religious character, RE must be taught according to the Locally Agreed Syllabus unless parents request RE in accordance with the trust deed of the school. The Locally Agreed RE syllabus is produced by the LA SACRE. Links to the Locally Agreed Syllabuses can be found in the Key Documents section. In Voluntary Aided (VA) schools the governors are responsible for setting the RE policy and determining the RE syllabus followed. RE should be taught in accordance with the trust deed. Church academies within the Diocese are expected to determine their own RE syllabus. The Diocese of Chichester does not have its own RE syllabus, so we recommend that schools follow their Locally Agreed Syllabus as the basis for their RE curriculum. We expect schools to use Understanding Christianity as the basis for teaching Christianity and to invest in other high- quality resources to deliver additional requirements of the syllabus effectively.

All church schools and academies should ensure that their RE curriculum meets all statutory requirements and in addition, the expectations of the Church of England Statement of Entitlement for RE (2019). Diocesan expectations and further guidance can be downloaded from the Key Documents section on this page.

All schools are required to establish an effective system of assessment for RE in line with statutory requirements and CE and Diocesan expectations.


RE is inspected in all church schools and academies as part of the Section 48 inspection. Details about SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools) inspections are set out in the SIAMS Evaluation Schedule. This document can be downloaded from the Key Documents section of the SIAMS home page on this website.Under the current schedule the RE in all church schools/academies is inspected according to the criteria set out in Strand 1 and Strand 7 of the schedule. The inspector’s judgement about RE is incorporated into their overall judgement about the effectiveness and distinctiveness of the school. In VA schools an additional judgement is made about the effectiveness of RE.

For further information about RE and Diocesan support please contact Rosemary Black

What does it mean to get better at RE Assessment Guidance- click here for new guidance document